The Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives will continue its Brown Bag Lunch series on Wednesday, September 25, with a presentation by Archives staff member Kim Murphy Kohn about Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Fire insurance maps helped insurance companies assess the potential risks involved in underwriting policies. They depict features that affect the vulnerability of properties to disasters like fire, earthquake, and flood. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company mapped 12,000 American cities between 1867 and 1970. The insurance industry determined the kind of information conveyed on the map. They depicted commercial, industrial, and residential sections of cities and towns. Although created for the insurance industry, city planners, government and municipal agencies, banks, and public utilities also utilized the maps. Kohn’s presentation will explain how historians use this information in the context of research.
Kim Kohn joined the staff of the Butte Archives in 2011. She earned a B.A. in Historic Preservation from Mary Washington College and is currently a graduate student in the History Department at Montana State University. She has used Sanborn Maps throughout her career, but especially in writing National Register nominations in Virginia, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Sanborns are her favorite historic resource and she uses them daily doing research at the Archives.
The presentation will begin at noon and run about an hour at the Archives, 17 W. Quartz. Guests are encouraged to bring a sack lunch. Coffee and water will be provided.
Brown Bag Lunches are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Upcoming lectures will focus on topics of local interest. For more information, contact the Archives at 782-3280.